***WATCH FULL NEWS CONFERENCE HERE***
Washington, D.C. – Today, Georgia lawmakers U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and U.S. Representative Austin Scott (R, GA-8th) joined United States Air Force Acting Secretary John P. Roth at a virtual news conference to announce the Air Force’s plans to bring new operational missions to Robins Air Force Base (AFB), ensuring the vital base and surrounding community will continue to play an integral role in our nation’s defense. During the virtual news conference Sec. Roth laid out the Air Force’s plans to move four new missions to Robins AFB, capitalizing on modern technologies to respond to emerging threats while utilizing Robins’ existing manpower and infrastructure. The Department has stated its goal is to repurpose the full sum of Active Duty and Air Guard personnel currently supporting the JSTARS mission into the four new missions—a goal the Georgia lawmakers fully support and have committed to working with the Air Force to ensure happens, which they reiterated at the news conference.
“As the Air Force looks to the future, we expect to be challenged all around the world by China and Russia. Those threats require new solutions and Team Robins will play a vital role in how we achieve decision superiority on the battlefield. We have plans to bring new aircraft and new missions to Robins Air Force Base beginning next year. But in order to make way for these new missions we need to begin retiring the so-called JSTARS aircraft fleet,” said Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth.
“The Georgia Delegation is fortunate to have a long history of working together. Today’s announcement is a culmination of years of close work by myself, Congressman Bishop and former Senators Isakson, Perdue, and Loeffler, as well as local community leaders and base leadership. I look forward to continuing this important work with our new Senators, Warnock and Ossoff, to ensure Robins Air Force Base and all of Georgia’s military installations are combat ready and mission capable,” said Representative Austin Scott.
“This event is a testament to the bipartisan commitment to U.S. National Security and the bipartisan commitment to military installations in the state of Georgia. These upgrades to the capabilities and Robins Air Force Base will ensure that this base is strong for decades to come. These are cutting-edge capabilities and Mr. Secretary, It’s been a pleasure working with you to ensure that they come to Georgia because we know that many bases across the country would be competing for these capabilities. We’re glad that they’re coming to Georgia because Robins Air Force Base is truly the pride of Middle Georgia,” said Senator Jon Ossoff.
“There is no community that loves the Air Force like Warner Robins. I am committed to working with the Air Force to bring [the four new missions] to fruition, to ensuring the continuity of an operational flying mission at the base, to ensuring a complete role for both Active and Guard personnel, and to making Robins the hub of the Air Force’s future communication structure that will answer the call of today’s threat environment,” said Senator Raphael Warnock.
According to the Air Force, it will begin working to bring the following missions to Robins AFB:
- Air Control Squadron (“Kingpin”): The Georgia Air National Guard will lead a unit of airmen whose day-to-day mission will be to provide command and control of aircraft in the Central Command theatre of operations. This mission is tentatively scheduled to come to Robins AFB in FY22.
- Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2)/Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS): The Georgia Air National Guard will lead a unit of airmen to build multiple facilities on Robins AFB to support the JADC2/ABMS enterprise. The mission is tentatively scheduled to come to Robins AFB in FY23.
- E-11 Aircraft: Nine E-11 Battlefield Airborne Control Node (BACN) aircraft and a squadron of Active Duty personnel will execute a mission enabling communications support to the joint force on the modern battlefield. This mission is tentatively scheduled to come to Robins AFB in FY22.
- Spectrum Warfare Group: A Group of Squadrons, comprised of Active Duty airmen, will draw upon (and work in concert with) software and hardware engineers in the electro-magnetic spectrum, to develop and field innovative electronic warfare solutions. This mission is tentatively scheduled to come to Robins AFB in FY24
The announcement follows news that the Air Force has proposed the imminent retirement of the first four E-8 JSTAR aircraft—a legacy Air Force intelligence collection platform that has supported important national security missions since the 1980s. The JSTARS platform has been based at Robins AFB since the early 2000s, and is supported by the Georgia Air National Guard and the Active Duty Air Force at the base.
See below additional quotes from members of the Warner Robins community regarding the announcement:
“The Georgia National Guard is excited about our future role in the Advanced Battle Management Family of Systems. The men and women of the 116th Air Control Wing (ACW) are some of the most skilled Air Battle Managers in the world. These new missions and capabilities puts the 116th ACW and Warner Robins Air Force Base on the cutting edge of protecting American interests around the world for decades to come,” said Major General Tom Carden, The Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard.
“We are grateful for all our congressional delegation, past and present, for what they’ve done to bring us to this important milestone. Today’s announcement is a recognition of the critical role Robins Air Force Base and the Middle Georgia community continues to play in our nation’s defense and is a testament to the amazing women and men who serve at Robins,” said retired Brigadier General John Kubinec, President and CEO of 21st Century Robins Partnership.